Isn’t it crazy to know that by May 1st, most high school seniors will know the college where they will be spending their next four years? Some commit earlier before the deadline, but that was not the case for me. I applied to 14 universities, and was admitted to 12. In the end, it came down to only three colleges: UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Claremont McKenna College. As an incoming science major, all three schools provided a strong education for me, which made my decision even harder. Fortunately, if I were to choose UCSD or CMC, I would be going with a full ride scholarship. However my decision was not based on money, rather where I would feel the most comfortable.
There was no other way to get that sense than actually visiting the schools, which I was able to do thanks to the second annual Bridge for Kids West Coast Campus Tour. About 10 students, including myself, visited five colleges throughout three days during the beginning of April. UC Berkeley and the Claremont Colleges were part of the colleges we visited, allowing me to explore their academic departments and social lifestyle. I was able to narrow down my list down to two colleges at the conclusion of the tour. UC Berkeley was not the perfect fit for me despite their great science department. It emitted a very politically engaged atmosphere with a large student body, and in the end was not the right fit for me. Now, I had to decide which college I would attend before the deadline. UCSD is close to home (and the beach), offers a great research program for science majors, and would provide me with a very supportive staff through their Chancellors Scholar Associates program. At CMC, I would be surrounded by a small student population, given the opportunity to take classes at any other Claremont College (Harvey Mudd, Pomona, Pitzer, and Scripps), and be able to engage in personal relationships with my professors due to small class sizes.
Three weeks later, I finally submitted my intent to register at Claremont McKenna College. It was a hard decision to make because I have been a student at The Preuss School UCSD since 6th grade, so I was already very comfortable with what UCSD had to offer. I was also determined even before the college application process started that I would be attending UCSD. In the end, what made me decide CMC was the right place for me was the close relationships I would be able to make with my future classmates and professors, which I believe allows a student to be the most successful in college.